Today is Earth Day 2013! As an online student, you’re probably already being environmentally friendly, even if you don't realize it. When you use the Digital Bookshelf, you’re not buying as many paper textbooks, and when you turn in digital copies of your assignments, you're not printing out long reports. Since you're already being green in one aspect of your life, why not honor Earth Day with some responsible spring cleaning as well? Here's how.
Learn What Electronics You Can Recycle and Why
Do you have old cell phones sitting around your home? A television? Printer? Camera? Computer? With our world of ever-changing technology and innovation, what’s new quickly becomes old and out-of-date, meaning that lots of electronics end up in the garbage.
When this happens, not only are we filling landfills with items that don’t decompose quickly, but dangerous chemicals such as mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium can leak into the soil and contaminate the earth. If you’re no longer using these items, it's best to recycle them rather than throw them away.
No matter what you are recycling, make sure you delete any personal data from the device. If it’s a computer, find someone at a local computer store to help you wipe the hard drive. You can also find instructions online on properly deleting information from your cell phone and other electronics.
Find Out Where to Recycle Electronics
First, consider that you might not even need to recycle your device. You may be able to trade it in for an upgrade or sell it at a yard sale or online (check out http://www.buymytronics.com/). You can also donate certain used electronic devices. For example, organizations such as Cell Phones for Soldiers, 911 Cell Phone Bank and National Coalition against Domestic Violence accept used cell phones for great causes.
If you do choose to recycle your electronics, many retailers (including Target, Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples and Walmart) frequently provide drop boxes for doing so at their locations. Manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, LG and Dell also commonly offer e-cycling programs. Sites like http://e-stewards.org, http://1800recycling.com/and http://earth911.com/recycling/ can also help you to find a recycling location near you.